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■ Text Paul Simmons on 027 9752640.
■ Warriors for the Birdsong of the Forest wants to use non-toxic methods to kill pests. THE DETAILS
Among the areas where predator control will be done is a few thousand hectares of Wha¯ nau o Tauwhao land in the Parakiwai Kainga. Rick Taikato says the area in Parakiwai Quarry Rd is already a refuge for many bird species. “The bird life is dominant — it’s becoming a little haven. If you can do [predator control] in the most humane way that you can do it, that trickles down to the water life and quality of life in the water, which then trickles down to the sea.”
Beyond just focusing on one creature or the potential for industry, Rick says for him it is about people working together in the right way and achieving a bigger goal.
His ancestors are from Tuhua (Mayor Island) and would come to Whangamata¯ as a place to gather their food and medicines.
“A certain bird that was plentiful back here, we used to find it and eat that. Today it’s not there.
“We also had medicinal plants that don’t get their rightful nutrients to expand, so a lot of our rongoa [Ma¯ ori medicine] that used to be picked and taken back to the island aren’t here.
“It’s not just about the animals and 1080. It’s about the bigger picture. I’ve told my kids to get their head in a book and read, but I’ve also showed them the old ways with food sources. Trying to get a kid to afford something and on a mainstream income when possum hunting is seasonal. You’ve got to teach them not just about hunting possums but the big picture of why we’re getting rid of this pest.”